Halloween Special: Feeding The Dead At Dumb Supper

from Today's Calls: Pandemic Pieces on BBC Radio Devon by Kimwei

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INTRODUCTION

This poem is a Halloween Special. Halloween is short for All Hallows Eve and it’s also called Samhain - the Pagan festival during which the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead is believed to become thin. So, I wanted to honour and remember all those who have died from Covid-19 this year with this poem: “Feeding The Dead at Dumb Supper”. Dumb Supper is a traditional meal in which the guests of honor are both our distant ancestors and close loved ones who have passed away. They can’t speak literally to us, hence it is called the Dumb Supper. Their favorite food is prepared and served to them. Each guest is served a toast as they are remembered. The idea of feeding the dead seems so apt right now against the contrast of how so many in this country are struggling to feed themselves and their children.

Feeding The Dead at Dumb Supper

On Samhain pray the ghosts will be forgiving
When hunger comes to grin with pumpkin jaws -
As we serve food for the dead but not the living.

School dinners will be cancelled, come the frost.
If children do go hungry this Christmas -
on Samhain pray the ghosts will be forgiving.

Make halloween our supper for those lost -
to covid, to injustice, violence, wars -
as we serve food for the dead but not the living.

Stay out and spread the virus: that’s the cost,
and father death will know our reckless cause
On Samhain pray the ghosts will be forgiving -

- and on Hallows night invite them to the roast
Let’s honour guests and ghosts with open doors
as we serve food for the dead but not the living

Let’s drink a toast to mothers, fathers - stopped -
their breathing halted by corona’s claws.
On Samhain pray their ghosts will be forgiving,
as we serve food for the dead but not the living.

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